Built by Consolidated Aircraft Corporation in San Diego. Constructors Number 1369. Delivered to the U. S. Navy (USN) as PBY-5 Catalina bureau number 08435. Flown overseas across the Pacific as part of defense aid. On October 21, 1943 arrived at Fiji before reaching the South Pacific.
Assigned to the Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) as Catalina serial number NZ4020. Assigned to No. 6 Squadron with code XX-O. No known nickname or nose art.
During early 1944 operated from Blanche Harbor in the Treasury Islands and was serviced by USS Coos Bay (AVP-25).
On February 18, 1944 this Catalina took off from Blanche Harbor piloted by Fg Off Hitchcock on a rescue mission to
the north of Buka Island and landed roughly 1 1/2 miles offshore to rescue two crew members and a dead body from the crash of B-25H 43-4??? and took off again flying them to Halavo Seaplane Base.
On May 26, 1945, this Catalina stalled while landing in the sea off Hobsonville Airfield. Afterwards, towed by a crash boat to a mooring. On June 18, 1945 written off due to damaged sustained in the landing.
No. 6 Flying Boat Squadron Royal New Zealand Air Force: Brief History by Jenny Scott
"18th February. A Catalina commanded by Fg Off Hitchcock sighted a dinghy with survivors from a ditched B-25 being circled by another B-25. The Catalina landed and picked up 2 survivors and a body. They were Americans from a Russell Island based B-25 squadron. Their aircraft had been hit by AA while on a strafing mission and had crashed into the sea"
NZDF Serails - Catalina NZ4020
Thanks to Ewan Stevenson and Jenny Scott for additional information
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January 23, 2021